Posted on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019 at 12:51 pm
Under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, you are protected from making self-incriminating statements. That means you do not have to testify against yourself if something you say might implicate you in the crime you are being investigated for.
In 1966, the United States Supreme Court ruled, in Miranda v. Arizona, that your Fifth Amendment protection extended to instances when law enforcement officials take you into custody and interrogate you. Before the police begin questioning you, they must read your Miranda rights: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to have an attorney present. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you.”
If police arrest and interrogate you, you can invoke your rights and politely refuse to answer their questions. Even if you started answering, you could plead the Fifth at any time. Once you let them know that you will no longer be providing information, they must honor your request and cannot force you to answer their questions.
Inadmissibility of Statements
In Miranda, the court decided that a person cannot voluntarily and knowingly waive their rights if they are not fully aware of them to begin with. If the police failed to read your Miranda rights and moved forward with an interrogation, any statements you provided may not be used as evidence against you in court. However, if you invoke your rights, but continue to answer questions, the responses you give could be presented at your trial.
Right to an Attorney
The Miranda Warning also informs you of your right to legal counsel. During an interrogation, you can let officers know that you will not answer questions until your lawyer is present. They must stop the questioning and wait until your attorney arrives before continuing.
When Police Must Mirandize You
Officers are required to inform you of your rights only after they have taken you into custody. If they have not arrested you, they are not required to let you know you can remain silent. Any answers you provide during a pre-arrest interrogation could be used as evidence against you. However, although police do not need to read your Miranda Rights before making an arrest, you are still protected under the Fifth Amendment, and you can politely decline to answer their questions.
For Effective Legal Defense, Contact the Morris Firm
Our attorney has over 10 years of legal experience, which has been focused almost solely on criminal defense. Having litigated thousands of cases, we have an in-depth understanding of the trial process and the laws that govern your rights. When you hire us, we will ensure that law enforcement has not, or does not, violate your constitutional protections.
We are dedicated to protecting your freedom and future. To speak with our lawyer, call us at (850) 427-6514 or contact us online.